“You Can Never Be Too Beautiful” and Teen Plastic Surgery
Chinese teenagers are being given cosmetic surgery by their parents as a ward for their hard work in school. Three hospitals in Guangzhou reported hat 90 percent of their plastic surgery patients were middle school graduates .. [whose) parents were paying for the surgery to reward children for passing university entrance exams. -Ana nova News Service (2005)
News In: Teenagers Opt for Cosmetic Surgery I’m only a absorb having a bigger bust would make me feel happier in my clothes .•. I could wear better tops and not have to resort to wearing padded bras to create the illusion of a larger bust. Kimberley cooke, college student in the noted Kingdom, describing why she is interested In having cosmetic surgery (qtd.ln Atkins,2005) News em: For More Teenage Girls,Adult Plastic Surgery My Family Was upset that Was so young. Burl explained to them that it was about being confident. -Nicole Castro of the United States, explaining why she had breast·implant surgery (qtd. in Woodman, 2004: AI)
Although both men and women seek plastic surgery, the majority of elective cosmetic surgery procedures are performed on omen. In the United States and other nations, the number of young. women seeking procedures such as angioplasty (nose shaping), breast Implants, and Liposuction- • ton appears to be inc”easing (Woodman, 2004).
might have on children if they spend one-third of their waking time watching it, as has been estimated. From children’s cartoons to duly shows, television programs are sex-typed, and many are male oriented. More male than female roles are shown, and male characters act strikingly different from female ones. Typically, males are more aggressive, constructive, and direct and are rewarded for their actions. By contrast, females are depicted as acting deferential toward other people or as manipulating hem through helplessness 01′ seductiveness to get their way. In prime-time television, a number of significant changes in the past here decades have reduced gender stereotyping; however, men still outnumber women as leading characters, and they are often in charge” in any setting where both men’s and women’s roles are
portrayed. In the popular ABC series Grey’s Anatomy, for example, the number of women’s and men’s roles is evenly balanced, but he male characters typically are the top surgeons at the hospital, whereas the female characters are residents, interns, or nurses. n hows with predominantly female characters, such as ABC’s Desperate Housewives, the women are typically very attractive, in, d ultimately either hysterical or compliant when dealing with male characters (Stanley, 2004).
Advertising-whether on television and billboards or in magazines and newspapers can be very persuasive. The intended message s,clear ‘to many people: If . they embrace traditional notions of masculinity and femininity, their personal and social success is assured; if they purchase the right products and services, they
Why do young women desire to undergo surgical procedures to make their b&:lies more “beautiful” or more “perfect”? According o some analysts. the pressure to improve one’s appearance comes primarily from acquaintances; however. other researchers assert that how the media frame stories about personal appearance Influences the way that we think about ourselves and the improvements that we may believe our bodies require. If this assertion is correct, media framing plays an important role in the rowing phenomenon of young women opting for cosmetic enhancement or change.
For example, television reality shows may encourage people to believe that cosmetic surgery could be the answer to all their problems. These programs are framed in such a manner that the negative attributes of a person’s ‘before” appearance are emphasized and often exaggerated while the positive aspects of the “after’ appearance are carefully highlighted and enhanced for idea audiences. This type of framing gives audiences a perception that things originally were worse than they were, that every Thing afterward is much better than it Is. and that surgery Is a simple matter. Such stories often have a profound influence n how viewers see themselves and others. And In some cases. media framing even suggests that we should want to look like a celebrity,
Although organizations such as the American Society for Aesthetic Staples Surgery (the society of board-certified plastic surgeons) encourage phys Sicilians to carefully evaluate teenagers on factors such as the person’s level of physical and emotional maturity fore performing cosmetic cosmetic cosmetic surgery (see American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 20031,this kind of scrutiny may be er whelmed by intense media framing of stories about appearance that suggest we are inadequate, by advertising that uses models o sell all kinds of products, and by the advertisements or physical improvements and plastic surgery that